Kebab Hala – Egyptian Pot Roast

IMG_6115All day I have been thinking about the English equivalent to the word “mesabeka” which is the perfect arabic word to describe the sauce in this dish. This traditional Egyptian casserole is made with humble chuck or gravy beef. This budget friendly cut of meat is perfect for cooking on low heat for an extended period of time. While it cooks, the onions, garlic and spices transform into a rich, caramelised, sticky thick sauce that is  rich with the taste of onions and garlic, in short ‘mesabeka’. The meat itself becomes so tender and soft, you can cut it up using a spoon, its not fork tender, its spoon tender! The best thing about this dish is that the prep time is next to nothing, only one vegetable to chop and off you go. You do need the time to be able to leave the dish to do its thing for a few hours while you get on with more exciting things about the house (in my case, laundry woot woot) . I was feeling particularly decadent today (you see I’m on a sugar detox so I have to get my taste jollies elsewhere) so I served this extremely rich dish with the equally rich Creamy Rice (Roz Me3amar) however it goes very well with plain boiled rice to soak up the amazing sauce. I hope you try this dish and enjoy! Happy cooking xx

Ingredients

1 kg (2.2 Lb) chuck beef, cubed 3 Tablespoons oil 500g (1.1 Lb) Onions (about 3 large) sliced 2.5 tsp minced garlic 2.5 tsp arabic 7 spice (allspice) 2 tablespoons ghee (or butter) 1/4 cup flour Salt and pepper to taste

Method

1. Add salt and freshly cracked black pepper to the flour and mix well 2. Add the flour mixture to the beef while it is in a plastic bag, and shake it all about hokey pokey style 3. Heat the oil in a heavy cast iron casserole pot, and when hot start adding the meat in batches and browning on both sides, setting aside each batch as it is done browning.  Ensure that you do not overcrowd the pan, as this will cause the meat to cook it its own juices, resulting in grey ‘boiled’ meat rather than nicely browned flavoursome meat. 4. When all the meat is browned, put it all back in the pot and add the sliced onions and garlic, all spice and ghee. (can’t be a traditional egyptian recipe without ghee!) add salt and pepper to taste and mix very well 5. Lower the heat as far as it will go, and cover. Stir the casserole every few minutes to ensure the meat doesn’t stick to the bottom 6. Leave to cook for at least 2 – 2.5 hours. If at ANY time you feel the mixture is becoming too dry and in danger of burning, add 1/2 cup of water, stir will, cover and repeat. This is for emergencies only, I dont expect this to happen as the meat and onions release their juices and turn into the amazing sauce. 7. Check seasoning again before serving Enjoy and happy cooking xx

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